Agency Worker Regulations

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We’ve received many enquiries relating to the forthcoming Agency Worker Regulations (AWR), but it is only now that the final guidance has been released that we can understand and communicate clearly how this will affect our Clients and our Contractors / Consultants / Interim Managers.

By way of introduction, for those not already aware, the AWR comes into effect from 1st Oct 2011 to give agency workers the same basic working rights and employment conditions they would receive if they were engaged directly by the end-user Client to do the same job.

Since most of our Contractors work through their own personal service Limited Companies and are “in business on their own account”, they are excluded from the AWR, as they do not need, or desire, pseudo employment rights if they are to continue providing their services outside of IR35.

That leaves the following Contractors whose assignments the AWR will apply to:

  • PAYE temps
  •  Workers hiring their services through ‘Umbrella Companies’, if either:
    a) They are under the direction and supervision of the end-user Client, or
    b) The Umbrella Company does not pay the worker between assignments (known as the ‘Swedish Derogation’)

For the above, there are two main constituents to AWR, to ensure equal and fair treatment, which are summarised below:

  1. Access to facilities and amenities that the end user Client provides for its own employees (eg canteen, shower room, crèche) and to be advised of vacancies arising within the Client’s business. These rights apply from Day One and the responsibility lies with the end-user Client.[To avoid undue panic and keep this in perspective though we should bear in mind that such temps are already entitled to many employment rights such as the working time regulations, paid holidays, the minimum wage etc]
  2. Equal Pay and Working Time. These rights apply after 12 weeks of service and the responsibility for ensuring parity lies with the Employment Business.[As a Manager that hires Contractors please therefore don’t be surprised when your Recruiter asks for pay details of equivalent / comparable staff Employees]

As mentioned earlier though, the vast majority of our Contractors / Consultants / Interim Managers are highly skilled and experienced professionals, who choose , rather than are forced, to work self-employed, perhaps for the flexibility or diversity it allows or occasionally (just maybe) the improved remuneration?

This is only intended as a brief overview of how the AWR might impact you. For further details please either speak with your Tech-Res Account Manager, or view the BIS’s AWR Guidance Notes, which contains much more detail.